Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Professor Natasha Merat


Research Group Leader for Human Factors and Safety

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 36614
Room: 2.11
Research Group: Human Factors and Safety

Key Research Interests

  • Human factors of highly automated driving
  • HMI design
  • Driver behaviour, especially driver distraction and the influence of new technologies in driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Older drivers and technology
  • Train driver distraction and workload
  • Psychophysiological measures of driver behaviour
  • Multisensory integration, especially crossmodal links between audition, vision and touch.

Visiting Positions and Professional Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor, Public Policy Centre, University of Iowa
  • Visiting Fellow, Mobile Robotics Group, University of Oxford
  • Director: Transport Systems Hub, University of Leeds, 2011-2015
  • WG member: EC iMobility group on Highly Automated Driving, 2012-present
  • Guest Editor, Special section of Transportation Research Part F., on Vehicle automation and driver behaviour
  • Guest Editor: Special issue of Human Factors on Automation in Vehicles, 2012
  • Elected Director of the Executive Council, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter, 2011 to date
  • Member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter (2005 to date)
  • Working Party Member of Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (2003 to date)
  • Member of the British Psychological Society (2000 to date)
  • Treasurer, Cognitive Section, British Psychological Society (2000-2004)

Employment History

  • 2004-2013, Senior Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 2002-2004, Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 1999-2002, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey
  • 1998-1999, Research Fellow, Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Unilever Research


  • 1999 - PhD, Psychology, University of Leeds
  • 1993 - BSc (Hons), Physiology, University of Leeds

Research Projects and Experience

  • VRA: Vehicle Road Automation (ITS PI - 2013-2017)
  • AdaptIVe (ITS PI, 2014-2018)
  • FORWARN: towards an intelligent forward collision warning system (PI, 2012-2016, EPSRC)
  • CityMobil 2 (ITS PI, 2012-2016, EC)
  • Transport Research Knowledge Centre (PI, 2009-2010, EC)
  • Low-cost innovative engineering measures to reduce fatigue-related accidents (PI, 2007-2009, Highways Agency)
  • CityMobil (PM, 2006-2011, EC)
  • EASY: Effects of Automated Systems on Safety (CI, 2006-2009, EPSRC)
  • AIDE: Adaptive Integrated Driver-Vehicle Interface (PM, 2004-2008, EC)
  • HASTE: HMI And the Safety of Traffic in Europe (PM, 2002-2005, EC)

For a list of my publications see also Google scholar:


Past teaching includes lectures on Theories of Attention to 3rd year undergraduate students in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

I also supervise ITS Masters student dissertations on a variety of topics involving driver behaviour.  Examples of past topics inlcude:

  • Acceptability of Intelligent Speed Adaptation for Young Drivers
  • Is the driving test related to real world driving?
  • Does personality influence engagement in mobile phone tasks?
  • Using video recordings to analyse conflicts bewteen drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

PhD Students

  • Tyron Louw is investigating the Human Factors of Transitions in Highly Automated Driving, as part of the AdaptIVe project
  • Anderson Etika is sponsored by the Nigerian Government and is studying speed choice in Nigerian fleet drivers
  • Nick Herbert is in the final year of his PhD research, co supervised by Nick Thyer from the School of Healthcare in Leeds, investigating Hearing Impairment and Driving Performance
  • I am also co-supervising Yvonne Taylor with Samantha Jamson from ITS. Yvonne is a full-time police officer and a part-time student who will be studying fatigue and work related accidents.



  • de Waard D; Merat N; Jamson H; Barnard Y; Carsten O (2011) Human Factors of Systems and Technology, Shaker.

Book Chapters

Conference Papers

Conference Presentations

  • Carsten O; Merat N (2015) Protective or Not?, 4th International Driver Distraction and Inattention Conference .
  • Merat N; Kountouriotis G; Carsten O; Engstrom J (2015) Performance on the Detection Response Task during driving: Separating the manual and cognitive element of the secondary task, 4th International Driver Distraction and Inattention Conference .
  • Hibberd DL; Jamson AH; Jamson SL; Merat N (2013) Designing an in-vehicle eco-driving support system to assist drivers in conserving fuel, Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter .
  • Hodgson FC; Barnard Y; Bradley M; Merat N; Lloyd A (2011) Acceptance of technologies supporting driving and walking, by people over 65 years old who do not normally use digital technologies., Second International Workshop on Acceptance of Technological and Organisational changes in Transport .
  • Jamson AH; Merat N (2009) Can Low Cost Road Engineering Measures Combat Driver Fatigue? A Driving Simulator Investigation., 5th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design .
  • Merat N; Jamson AH (2009) How do drivers behave in a highly automated car?, Fifth International Driving Symposium on Human Factor in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design .
  • Jamson AH; Merat N (2007) The Effectiveness of Saftey Campaign VMS Messages - A Driving Simulator Investigation, 4th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design July 9-12, 2007 Stevenson, Washington, USA .
  • Merat N; Jamson AH (2005) Shut up I'm driving! Is talking to an inconsiderate passenger the same as talking on the mobile phone?, Proceedings of the International Driving Symposium on Human factor in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, Maine, USA .
  • Merat N; Barnard Y (2005) Technology Acceptance by car drivers over the age of 70, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter .

Search site